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William Gilmore Simms

Simms, William Gilmore, 1806–70, American novelist, b. Charleston, S.C. He wrote prolifically, both prose and poetry, but it is for his historical romances about his own state that he is remembered and often compared with James Fenimore Cooper. His tales of the Southern frontier include Guy Rivers (1834) and Beauchampe (1842; one part rewritten as Charlemont, 1856); those of colonial times are The Yemassee (1835) and The Cassique of Kiawah (1859); romances of Revolutionary times include a series— The Partisan (1835), Mellichampe (1836), and Katharine Walton (1851)—and The Forayers (1855) and its sequel, Eutaw (1856). He also wrote less successful novels of Spanish history. Besides continually writing fiction, he edited (1849–56) the Southern Quarterly Review and wrote local history and biographies of Francis Marion (1844), Nathanael Greene (1849), and others. His volumes of short stories are entitled Carl Werner (1838) and The Wigwam and the Cabin (two series, both 1845). His home and fortune were destroyed in the Civil War.

See biographies by W. P. Trent (1899, repr. 1968) and J. Guilds (1988); studies by J. Kibler, Jr. (1979) and M. A. Wimsatt (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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